Challenge and Change
Pinky relates that there had been “mistrust – between employers and myself” during her early employment as a caregiver. She recounts that, “I moved to Oakville … tried childcare, but unfortunately this is … where it all started, the crazy things, the abuses and everything.” Pinky’s employers made her perform tasks outside of her job description, were verbally abusive, and did not allow her to socialize with other Filipino women to avoid “being influenced by [those] people.”
Eventually, Pinky was relieved from her final position when her employer learned of her pregnancy. Pinky remarked that this employer “doesn’t have any intention of paying me what she owes me.” However, Pinky did not passively accept mistreatment. She persevered, supporting her newborn son while she attended George Brown College. As a result, she also temporarily lost her resident status and healthcare coverage. In response to these challenges, Pinky joined support groups, participated in advocacy campaigns, worked with her fellow caregivers, and took part in Filipino-based labour boards and organizations.
In 2016, Pinky was asked to speak before the Review of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program. She stated, “The kind of job that we do [caregiving] is not valued by Canadians. So basically, if you don’t value such kind of work…that means we are disposable. That’s why we are temporary – you don’t want to give us [status] because you want to maintain [this notion] that we are just a commodity.”